by A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
AVOIDING WAR WITH IRAN
Not long after President Trump had said he wanted to withdraw from Syria, an air-launched chemical attack struck innocent Syrian civilizations. Assad was blamed and Trump forced to launch airstrikes of his own. We recently reported that leaked documents reveal the gas canisters were manually placed, not dropped from the air. A false flag attack in Syria almost led American to war.
Trump recently stated that he seeks no regime change in Iran or war with the nation. His comments were made on May 27 after meeting with Japanese prime minister, Abe, who agreed to deliver a written message from Trump to Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. On June 13, while Abe was delivering Trump's message, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, one of which owned by Japan. Iran was quickly blamed by the "blog" in Washington. Reports from the crews of the tankers have not matched those being reported from the US intelligence community. Despite being attacked, we are glad to see that Abe has not jumped to the same conclusions. Other officials and analysts are also skeptical. Tucker Carlson has privately encouraged Trump to avoid war with Iran.
We fear the forces who worked to draw us deeper into Syria are working again to cause war between the US and Iran. This would be a disaster.
We are encouraged that, thus far, the president has labeled the so-called Iranian attacks, "very minor." and cancelled a planned attack. Despite re-stating the Trump's desire to avoid war, Bolton and Pompeo are pressing Trump for war with Pompeo now pushing a ludicrous assertion that Shia Iran is connected to the virulently anti-Shia al Qaeda. This follows the Trump's great April 8 mistake of declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps - which has bravely fought ISIS for years - a terrorist organization. On Thursday morning it was announced that Iran shot down an American drone over its airspace, though the "intelligence community" claims it was over international waters. We pray that Trump, despite his pre-election problematic position on Iran, holds steady against the Washington "blob" and pressure from Israel and Saudi Arabia to plunge the US into yet another war in the region.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
TICE ON PENCE: Doug Tice of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes of his relationship with the late Dr. David Pence, the intellectual power house behind AoA. The article also includes a re-print of Dr. Pence's 2004 article, Antiwar activists who got it wrong. Some excerpts from Tice:
David was never stingy with his insights and understandings. Over the 20 or so years I knew him, he invariably arrived at our lunch or dinner rendezvous armed with an “agenda” scrawled on wrinkled paper, setting forth a formidable array of social, political, philosophical, religious and journalistic issues on which he had something to share.FRANCIS TO NUNCIOS - SHOW FILIAL PIETY: Pope Francis told around one hundred nuncios that it is impossible for them to do their jobs while criticizing him behind his back. We at AoA call this "showing filial piety" to the Holy Father. Just ahead of this statement, Viganò told The Washington Post that "Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse..." Tell that to McCarrick. The truth of the matter is that it was under the previous pontificates that the abuse ballooned and that Pope Francis has been the one to actually remove red hats and laicize those in higher offices. Much work needs to be done, but Pope Francis cannot bring conservatives into his inner circle until they prove their trustworthiness. Just as the nuncios cannot do their job while blogging and secretly criticizing the Holy Father, so the conservative bishops and cardinals cannot help drain the Church's swamp while lobbing dubias at him.
The overall message almost always turned out to have something to do with my imperiled salvation and his crusade to help me at last fulfill the unrealized potential he saw in me as a voice of Truth. I shall dearly miss his tutorials and admonishments.
JORDAN PETERSON - PRAGER INTERVIEW: Last month Dennis Prager interviewed Jordan Peterson at the Prager Summit. They discussed a wide array of topics. Some area of interest include:
On the tragic view of life: They opened by discussing the nature of the good and the tragic view of life. Peterson mentions the age old idea of "journeying to the darkest abyss to free the spirit of your father." He says that suffering, even the suffering of new challenging life experiences, draws out of us our full potential: "We know now from a biological perspective that if you put yourself in new situations that new genes turn on in your nervous system that code for new proteins that produce new neurological structures, and so you can't even be what you are fully biologically unless you expose yourself to everything you can expose yourself to as you journey through life. The old idea of a pilgrimage was predicated on that idea." We don't know if he has made the connection, but this is precisely what Christ does in the Paschal Mystery - He obeyed the Father in death, then journeyed to Hell to rescue His holy human forefathers, including Adam, in Hell. In doing so, Christ's resurrection reveals what man's nature is capable of. In this sense, the Incarnation is not enough. Contrary to liberal theologians who stress the Incarnation alone and the conservatives who stress Calvary and sin too much, it turns out that through the Incarnation and the cross, Christ's obedient death, descent into Hell, the rescue of the father, and the resurrection work together to draw out of man's nature his full potential.ROSICA RESIGNS: Fr. Rosica, founder and CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, has resigned after multiple cases of plagiarism in his work. He and his foundation support the sexual Left and are among the many left-leaning Catholic publications.
On belief in God: Peterson connects belief to action. "If you were capable of believing it would be a transfiguring event... God only knows what you would be if you believed... Well I try to act like I believe, but I'd never claim that I manage it, because it's a lot to manage properly and you have to be careful about claiming to manage things that you can't manage." In another place he says that sometimes you have to act something out in order to believe it. He says here that he acts as though there is a God. We hope his acts lead to belief. Dennis Prager would have done well to suggest Peterson stop taking God's name in vain - that's the first thing one must do if he truly is to act as though God exists. In response to his statement that "God only knows what you would be if you believed..." we'd encourage Peterson to study the lives of the saints, because that is precisely what you would be if you believed.
On the Devil: "To the degree that I became a religious person, it wasn't as if I discovered God. It was more like I discovered Satan and discovered the Devil and certainly believed that very powerfully... it seems to me that if there's a great darkness, there has to be a great light. And the first part of that is true beyond any hope of refutation, and the second seems to be a logical necessity in the light of the first." As a psychologist, Peterson constantly deals with fallen nature, and this constant encounter with the darkness has played a key role in his path towards faith. He mentions that those who naively think there is no evil are precisely the ones more susceptible to PTSD when they encounter true malevolence.
On Catholicism and Sanity: After quoting Chesterton's famous line that those who stop believing start believing in anything, Peterson says: "I think that Catholicism [is] the sanest people can get. Broadly speaking, we need a narrative metaphysic to hold us together and it has to be predicated on something that is transcendent and absolute. And if you lose that you fall for something else. Or you'll fall for nothing, which is no better." Whether or not Peterson personally believes it yet, Catholicism provides that narrative. Folks like Peterson are hungry for truth - we as Catholics must be better at communicating it by telling our story.
On the sovereignty of the individual: One area of concern in Peterson is his overemphasis on the sovereignty of the individual, what he calls the West's greatest discovery and the "most fundamental truth". When he combines this with the dangers of identity politics, Peterson becomes quite critical of group identity. In the interview he points out the problem of identity politics and free speech, rejecting the notion that one speaks not for himself but for his group. We understand that his profession has led him to focus on the individual in front of him, but we believe he risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater, rejecting religious and national identity along with the rest. We at AoA do not reject "identity politics" - only those counterfeit identity politics of the Left.
FR. PAUL SULLINS: Fr. Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute is the author behind the November 2018 study of homosexuality in the priesthood and its relation to the sex abuse crisis. The report is titled "Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?" Fr. Sullins identified a .98 correlation between (1.0 is a perfect correlation) between the rising numbers of homosexuals in the priesthood and the rise of abuse of sexually mature young males. He has given a couple recent interviews on Church Militant of note. His best interview is a panel interview where he goes through his research. In it he notes old adage that "correlation is not causation" - but notes that all other proposed "causes" of the sexual abuse (like celibacy) demonstrate no statistical correlation with the abuse. He also notes that this abuse was not pedophilia as only 4% of the abuse cases were prepubescent. His other interview is less inspiring. In it he reveals he is a convert from Anglicanism, received a dispensation to be a married priest, and was both associates with, and ordained by, Cardinal McCarrick. He thinks that McCarrick should be treated with mercy and compassion, that the ex-cardinal is elderly and does not understand why what he did was so egregious. In speaking of how "exceptions" are built into canon law and church governance (citing his own ordination as a married man and even the bishop having the ability to ordain homosexuals on a case-by-case basis), he explains that, "...we [the Church] are not set up as an institution for policing and scrutiny and punishment, we are really set up for mercy and grace and bringing people toward God... I have a lot more hope in the secular authorities to do this." This is very in keeping with the scholar-priest personality. If a man can't punish, or thinks mercy trumps punishment, he as inadmissible to ordination as the homosexual. Help from police and attorneys general are needed, but they cannot be a cop out for ordained men who can't stomach expelling Judas priests. Not every crime an ordained man commits will be criminal in the eyes of the secular law, but very criminal in canon law - and it will take ordained men with chests to expel them.
II. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
KEEP AMERICA GREAT: President Trump kicks off his re-election campaign in Florida with a campaign new motto. Watch his speech. Dr. Steve Turley offers his analysis of of the kick off and Trump rallies in general.
THE CROSS STANDS: In a 7-2 vote - only Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented - the liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court voted to allow 40-foot tall, cross-shaped WWI memorial on public land to remain standing. In the opinion of the court, taking down the cross so long after it was placed would be tantamount to an attack on religion, which would violate the First Amendment. The ruling will help protect other pre-existing religiously-themed monuments but it remains to be seen if how the ruling would impact future monuments.
TRUMP-MEXICO IMMIGRATION DEAL: The Mexican government has released information on its agreement with Trump on asylum-seeking migrants. The deal looks very much like a safe third country policy.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
MANDATORY MILITIAS? Paul Brian of American Conservative considers re-establishing a mandatory male militia system. Unlike the National Guard, which can be federalized for foreign wars, this system would be entirely limited to home duty, offering time-strapped family men of various social and ethnic backgrounds an opportunity for protective brotherhood on the local level. His catch is the mandatory aspect of the militia, with many conscientious objectors naturally wanting to opt out. We would suggest that such a system be mandatory for all gun-owning males. A true reading of the second amendment allows men to bear arms for the sake of civic protection. If a man wants a gun, he must be part of a militia. We doubt many conscientious objectors have a fully stocked gun safe at home.
BLACK REPARATIONS: Proponents of "restorative justice" have brought slavery reparations for the black community to Congress on Wednesday, June 19. The date is known as "Juneteenth" and it commemorates the abolition that took place in on that date in 1865. We at AoA are not opposed to making reparations for the injustices done to blacks - but we must be clear regarding the cause of the injustice. The poor conditions of the inner city were not caused by slavery or by social injustices committed on freed blacks between 1865-1965. The damage was done by the sexual revolutionaries who co-opted the Civil Rights Movement, destroyed black families, and put black men in prison. In the name of "liberty" (in reality, sexual licence), black homes - which were more stable than white homes in 1960 - began to crumble. The black marriage rate plunged from 96% in 1950 to around 60% in 2012, and 72% of black children today are born to unwed mothers. Children raised in single-parent homes are twice as likely to drop out of school, 25%-50% more likely to experience behavioral problems, 2-3 times more likely to require psychiatric care, and nine times more likely to commit criminal offenses. Let the reparations be made - but let it be done by the revolutionaries who betrayed MLK and the authentic Civil Rights Movement. Though couched in more partisan language, NFL legend, and African American, Burgess Owens made a similar argument in his testimony.
THE COST OF WHITE WOMEN IN CONGRESS: The graphs below show the parallels between the increased rate of incarceration and the increased rate of women in Congress. Nearly half of the prison rate is black (and most of blacks imprisoned are men) while of the 309 women ever elected to Congress (both the House and the Senate), nearly 75% of them have been white women. We must ask ourselves: Was sending 227 white women to Congress worth all the costs of the sexual revolution?